“It’s all downhill after 35.”
“You can eat like that now, but WAIT until your metabolism slows down.”
“When I was young I could eat like a pig, drink all weekend, and be slim as anything!”
These are statements we hear daily at New Image. And it’s the experience of many of our clients who aren’t 20 anymore.
No wonder so many of us feel helpless, and that our best is in the rear view mirror.
We want you to be a master of your body’s destiny, not the victim of an inevitable decline.
And while most people DO experience metabolic changes over time, annual weight creep is NOT a done deal!
Here are the facts
After the age of 25, people lose 2-4% of their resting metabolic rate (RMR) every decade.
Without intervention, muscle mass decreases around 3-8% each decade. The more muscle on your body, the more you will burn fat, so this decline does slow everything down.
As we get older, we tend to move less, so are burning less calories. I’m not talking about structured exercise that we do at the gym. I mean the general, daily getting up and moving our bodies. If you’re not running around and playing like you did when you were a kid, your metabolism is slower now than it was back then.
Increased stress and anxiety, as well as broken sleeping habits, also impact our eating and exercise habits and can lead us to poor choices and weight gain.
Ok, so it’s looking a bit grim for our metabolisms as we get older.
But here’s another fact: All of this is within your control!
In this case, knowledge is definitely power. You KNOW that if you don’t maintain your muscle mass, if you stop being active, if you neglect your sleep… the weight will creep on with the years.
So what can you do about it? Plenty!
Let’s start with exercise. Here’s what it takes to keep that metabolic fire stoked as you grow wiser.
: It’s absolutely vital that EVERYONE does resistance training (weighted training including body weight) so that you’re building muscle, rather than losing it with age. More muscle mass means your body requires more energy (or calories) to function, increasing your metabolic rate.
And it’s not just about increasing the size and efficiency of our muscles. It’s important to be as strong as possible to help prevent injuries and have a better quality of life.
High Intensity Training (HIT)
This type of training, where you’re huffing and puffing your heart’s pounding, is worth the effort.
When you’re really going for it, your body struggles to get enough oxygen to use as fuel. In recovery mode, you need to repay the oxygen debt racked up during the workout, meaning your body keeps keeps consuming oxygen post exercise.
This very useful phenomenon is called EPOC (Excess Post Oxygen Cost) and actively increases metabolism and energy output.
Again, we’re not ONLY concerned with keeping weight off. Other reasons why HIT is a great idea, include that it:
Challenges the body’s defences and immunity
Requires the circulation of more oxygen and nutrients around the body
Increases brain activity
During less intense aerobic exercise, muscles contract more slowly with less force which means they can last longer. Unlike anaerobic exercise, the body is able to use oxygen as a fuel source during exercise. This means you won’t feel as puffed and the training session or activity can be continued for longer.
Longer, lower intensity sessions are worth including as they increase your overall energy output (calorie burn) and increase oxygen transport.
The other 23 hours of the day
To keep that metabolism firing and energy output high, what you do outside of your gym sessions counts. Getting your 10,000 steps a day in is a great start. But to maintain metabolic rate as you age, you’ll need to do more. Stand more than you sit, take the stairs, walk when you can rather than driving.
People who stay lean look for every opportunity to do things in the most physically INEFFICIENT way. That means, the way that expends the most energy. This is completely counterintuitive to the way non-cavemen live.
Mix it up
At New Image we program strategically to use different energy zones and weight training. We don’t just do this to look clever and keep boredom at bay (though making it fun helps!) By training different energy systems and including plenty of resistance training, we’re hitting your metabolism from all angles.
The take home
YES, if you leave your body and metabolism to fate, then everyone who told you the battle of the bulge is harder as you get older is right.
BUT there are things you can do. Lots of things!
Increase both anaerobic (high intensity exercise) and aerobic (low-mild intensity exercise), as well as daily life movement for beneficial metabolic adaptations.
Lift weights/bodyweight to increase strength as well as muscle size and energy requirements.
Perform all of the above activities (aerobic exercise, high intensity exercise and resistance training) in combination with each other to use different fuel sources, promote a variety of adaptations within the body and a younger metabolic age. And a leaner waistline!